Security is always on her mind. Upon making her rounds she comes upon some Herculean supplicants who are visiting a caged Hercules. Lysia, perceiving this to be a problem, clears them from the room and then says to Hercules, "If it were up to me, you wouldn't be caged, you'd be buried."
HIPPOLYTA'S GIRDLE (01-02)
THE SECRET OF AMAZON SELF-ACTUALIZATION (03-04)
MASLOW'S HIERARCHY (05-09)
Physical Needs (05)
Safety and Security (06)
Self-Esteem, Achievement, and Competence (08)
HIPPOLYTA'S GIFT TO HERCULES (10)
THE SECRET TO A WOMAN'S HEART (11-13)
AMAZONIAN CULTURE (14-15)
THE AMAZONS OF GAGARENTHA (16-24)
THE AMAZONS OF MELOSA (25-31)
Fill In Our Own Pyramid
END THOUGHTS (45-46)
TRADITIONAL HERCULEAN TIDBITS (47-49)
TRADITIONAL AMAZONIAN TIDBITS (50-55)
Discovering Maslow's Hierarchy In Amazon Culture
 After watching Hercules And The Amazon Women (Bill L. Norton, 1994), those of us who have studied Greek mythology, might ask where is Hippolyta's girdle? Reputed to give the wearer super strength, Hercules was supposed to steal it as one of his labors. Hercules And The Amazon Women, however, is a post-modernist tale and like other post-modernist works the writer expects the viewer to come to his or her own conclusions through inference. In other words, we are expected to find the girdle ourselves. So where is it?
 We begin our search by asking what strength did Hercules get from Hippolyta? We find a twofold answer. First, Hippolyta gives him the secret of Amazon self-actualization. Second, she gives him the secret to a woman's heart.
THE SECRET OF AMAZON SELF-ACTUALIZATION
 How well a culture succeeds can be measured in the quality of the individual it produces. Current thinking has encapsulated it in the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child."
 The educational community has adopted a scale to measure the success of an individual's development and they call it, Maslow's Hierarchy. Abraham H. Maslow (1908-70), an American psychologist and a leading exponent of humanistic psychology, developed a theory of motivation describing the mechanism by which an individual progresses from basic needs (such as food) to the highest needs of what he called self-actualization, which is the fulfillment of one's greatest human potential (Motivation and Personality, Harper & Row, New York, 1970). It is possible to use this scale to measure the quality of individuals turned out by Amazonian culture in Xena: Warrior Princess. There are five stages in Maslow's hierarchy and they are usually represented as a tiered pyramid.
 The lowest tier is called physical needs. Physical needs are very basic and include water, food and sleep.
Safety and Security
 In the next tier we find safety and security. Modern urban schools sometimes have a great deal of difficulty providing this for students. Extreme measures such as gun detectors or drug sniffing dogs are often used to eliminate these dangers.
 The third tier is called belonging. Developing a group of peers you trust, being a part of a team, and belonging to a specific religion are all examples of belonging. (This can be an extremely powerful need and explains why so many people tune in to watch Xena: Warrior Princess. It is a pleasure to belong to the community of fans who cherish the friendship of Xena and Gabrielle.)
Self-esteem, Achievement, and Competence
 The fourth tier includes self-esteem, achievement, and competence. Self-esteem is how well we feel about ourselves. It is gained through achievement and competence. Achievement is measured a number of ways: education, years employed, children, and so on. Competence is gained through acquisition of skills (Xena often says, "I have many skills"). Skills may be gained on the job, through sports, hobbies etc.
 At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization. Being self-actualized means that one knows that he or she has incorporated all portions of the pyramid into one's thinking processes. This is called metacognition. Generally speaking, few individuals achieve true self-actualization on a permanent basis. It rather becomes a goal to be constantly sought. (Anyone we know?) This makes for great literature. People who achieve self-actualization on a full time basis often become legends.
Maslow's Hierarchy in its traditional pyramid form
HIPPOLYTA'S GIFT TO HERCULES
Hercules bound and brought into the Amazon camp
 Lysia's patrol has managed to kill Iolaus and capture Hercules. Dragged through the Amazon village, Hercules is brought before Hippolyta. In an attempt to explain Amazon culture to Hercules, Hippolyta probes his memories of what he has learned about the nature of women:
HIPPOLYTA We are not beasts, Hercules. We are women. HERCULES Hardly. HIPPOLYTA Just because we are not the kind of women you'd like us to be. Make no mistake, these are women. Women who will not be controlled by men. Not beaten down, not bought and sold like oxen. Men will never dominate these women. HERCULES We don't dominate you. We protect you. HIPPOLYTA Oh I see. You protect us. HERCULES Because you are weaker. HIPPOLYTA Am I? I don't think so. HERCULES You got an advantage...at the moment. HIPPOLYTA Yes. I suppose I do. What are you looking at Hercules? Do you find me attractive? My legs, my breasts, my lips? Your friend is dead. I have you in chains. You hate me. And yet you still desire me...You're pathetic. There's no point in talking to you anymore. You'll never understand what makes a woman. HERCULES You'll never understand what makes a man. You don't know anything about me. HIPPOLYTA Oh but I do. I'll show you what makes a man. Hippolyta with the pesky candle of regression
[Lights candle of regression. Blows smoke in Hercules' face.] HIPPOLYTA Go back. Go back and live your life again. Let's see who you really are.
Zeus bouncing his baby boy around
ZEUS to baby HERCULES And women. Let me tell you, there is nothing like a beautiful woman. Believe me, women are the sweetest journey you will ever take. But don't be afraid. Take a lot of them. HIPPOLYTA Did you see Hercules? That's who you are. The son of your father. Women mean nothing to him or to you. Women are just play toys to be used and then thrown away. Your father, all fathers teach this to their sons on the day that they are born and it doesn't change as you grow older.
The Young Herc as a Young Turk with his side kick the Young Iolaus (TM)
THE WRESTLING INSTRUCTOR When you fight, fight to the death. Cultivate hardness because a man is stone. If you have any emotions left, grind them to the dust. Emotions are for the weak, girls. And most of all remember you'll be known by the enemies you make, so make good ones. [Hercules tells the stone lesson to the villagers of Troy as they attempt to retake their city from the Blue Cult in Hercules and the Lost Kingdom (Harley Cokeliss, 1994)] HIPPOLYTA There again women are nothing in your world. They're weak, polluted with emotion. But what great thing is it to be a man? Hammered into killing tools. No feelings except for enemies. No strengths but those to destroy. Tell me. When does a man bring life into the world? When does a man deliver anything but death?
Hercules and Iolaus, fighting back-to-back.
HERCULES Be careful Iolaus. IOLAUS I'll be reckless. Careless dies. Reckless kills. Ow! Iolaus, emoting
[IOLAUS is cut. Chases Amazon responsible.] HERCULES No Iolaus. Stay at my back. HIPPOLYTA You have no idea what women are. But you've had you first lesson today. IOLAUS Hercules, it's a woman.
Ilia annoying the heck out of Iolaus because she happens[ILIA stabs IOLAUS.]
to be a woman
Hercules thinking things over[Hercules is visibly affected. We see him curled up in a fetal position shaking with emotion. His adherence to the old ways dies. He is born again.]
THE SECRET TO A WOMAN'S HEART
 Hercules surprises Hippolyta. He is willing to change. Hercules has noticed the change in Iolaus as he nears the date of his marriage. He has heard his mother Alcmene tell him that he will change as his marriage approaches. Hippolyta inadvertently confirms willingness to change as the key to a woman's heart:
 Hercules learns his lesson so well that he tries to teach to the Gargarenthian men
HIPPOLYTA It's not my intention that you should suffer needlessly. It's not a female trait. You loved Iolaus. I believe that. HERCULES He was my best friend. We went through a lot together. I never should have let him come along. HIPPOLYTA You surprise me. Seems some how a spark of humanity survived inside you. Could you love a woman as you loved Iolaus? HERCULES It's different with women. HIPPOLYTA Why? Women need respect and loyalty just as much as you do. But you'll never understand that. HERCULES What if I try to change? HIPPOLYTA You can't change. You're a man. HERCULES If I learned to be the way I am, I can learn to be another way.
 It is Hercules who gives these two secrets, self actualization and willingness to change, to Xena. Together they compose Hippolyta's girdle of strength.
PITHUS Things are going to be so much better now that women are coming back. HERCULES That's if the women are coming back. MAN What do mean? They're going to want more. I mean what woman wouldn't? HECTOR Yeah, they'll be back. And think how much better it'll be. Our clothes will be mended. We'll eat better. It'll be back to the way it should be. HERCULES What's wrong with you? Those attitudes are what got you in trouble in the first place. The women aren't the ones who have to work around here. It's you men. All of you. PITHUS Hercules is right. Things went the way they did last night because we talked to them. We listened to them. HERCULES That's right you did. And if you want Gagarentha to keep from being torn apart again it's the only way.
 Not all of us have a Hercules to pass the secret of the girdle on to us. Rather achieving full self-actualization is dependent on the cultures in which one lives. Yes, that is right, cultures. Cultures include family, school, work, recreation, city, state, national, world, and now the internet. A specific culture sets the tone for how we are to behave with respect to others in and outside that culture. The Xena production staff attempts to portray several different cultures on Xena: Warrior Princess. Those cultures are portrayed via characters and it is the characters which make up Amazonian culture that seem the most rational, the most educated, the most self-actualized.
 In an article from Grollier's Multimedia Encyclopedia Charles Wagley says this about culture:
The American anthropologist Ruth BENEDICT viewed cultures in terms of a dominant personality type that is favored in each culture and is revealed in the nature of its social organization, methods of training children, ceremonial customs, religion, and mythology. In her book Patterns of Culture (1934) Benedict contrasts what she calls a Dionysian culture pattern (frenzied, aggressive, and violent) of the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia with an Apollonian culture pattern (orderly, calm, and noncompetitive) illustrated by the ZUNI Indians of the southwestern United States. Although criticized for its somewhat intuitive approach, Benedict's work did draw attention to the connections that exist between personality and culture.
THE AMAZONS OF GAGARENTHA
 According to Benedict, a strong personality like Hera could affect the generation of self-actualized individuals. Furthermore, the two given examples from the encyclopedia excerpt sound like the Gagarenthan Amazons and the village they hold in thrall. In Hercules And The Amazon Women, Hera tries to keep the Gagarenthan Amazons from becoming self-actualized, as a method of controlling them. She may dole out little snippets of self-esteem but never enough for Hippolyta and the other Amazons to become fully self-actualized. Hera is a roadblock to "cultural diffusion."
 Hercules, However, is an advocate for cultural diffusion. Hippolyta helps Hercules understand a woman's self-esteem. He in turn helps the men of Gagarentha understand this. This in turn helps to heal the schism between the two cultures.
 Wagley says:
Elements of culture are spread from society to society through direct or indirect contact among groups, a process known as diffusion...Moreover, not all aspects of a culture diffuse with the same rapidity and ease. A steel axe is more efficient than a stone axe and, when available, will be borrowed at once by the culture into which it is introduced. A political system, a religion, or an ideal of what is beautiful, however, is more resistant to diffusion than are material aspects.
Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, future network angel
 Under the influence of Hera, Queen Hippolyta tries to balance her duty to the Amazons and her duty to Hera. Eventually, each respective duty becomes mutually exclusive. Hera has helped Hippolyta fill in every corner of Maslow's pyramid except for self-esteem and security. Hera tries to rule the Amazons directly. She gives Hippolyta orders on a daily basis. Hercules eventually short circuits Hera's connection to Hippolyta by convincing Hippolyta that the Gagarenthan men are not a threat. He makes it possible for her to think and act for herself. She become fully self-actualized.
Lysia, a Bolshie kind of Amazon
 Duty, obeying orders, and the Amazonian way come first for Lysia. Any personal life gets put on hold. After a successful night on the town, she still follows her queen despite the aftereffects of her liaison with Zeus:
HIPPOLYTA Mount up. Full battle gear. Battle arms. We attack Gagarentha again. This time no man to be left alive. LYSIA But Hippolyta, wasn't what happened last night...? HIPPOLYTA You'll obey my orders. Or have you turned against me? LYSIA No, my queen. Never. We ride immediately. This time we fight. Move!
FIRST ATTENDANT Terreis was an Amazon in the purest sense. EPONIN She would have made a good leader one day. FIRST ATTENDANT And she didn't think all men and centaurs were evil, just misguided.
XENA What problems do you have you with centaurs? MELOSA Disgusting animals. You know how they are. Near the river there is village of centaurs and men. They want our hunting areas. And now they've gone too far.
VELASCA I know how anxious you must be to get home. The last thing you need right now is this right of caste business. The mask of Melosa will be retired and the new mask of the queen will be offered to you. All you have to do to decline is hand it to me. GABRIELLE And make you the new queen? VELASCA I'm already queen. This is just ceremony. Gabrielle, you have neither the training nor the birthright to claim the position. I do. It belongs to me. GABRIELLE I'll think about it. VELASCA You do that. Think hard. Make sure you understand destiny. I do. And I am the only one to return the Amazons to theirs.
TERREIS It is a man's world Gabrielle, not because it should be, but because we let them have it. It's based on a woman's weakness. GABRIELLE Yeah? TERREIS The Amazon world is based on truth, on a woman's individual strength. GABRIELLE Well, I'm all for that. I've always considered myself a single-minded person.
 Xena's Achilles' heel is her self-esteem. Her past has a nasty way of haunting her. As Xena and Gabrielle stand overlooking the valley of Cirra at the beginning of DESTINY (#36), Gabrielle tries to comfort Xena. She compares Xena to the now verdant valley, implying that time heals all wounds. Xena tells Gabrielle that she must ride into the village to try to understand what happened, to learn what she must do to atone for her sins. As Xena enters the village, she is nearly overwhelmed by violent psychic emanations chronicling the attack on Cirra. The ghastly vision is too much for Xena. Barely able to think, she flees the ruined town and the searing memories.
 All the other corners of Xena' self-actualization triangle are filled in. Gabrielle took her as a friend when Amphipolis rejected her. Xena mended her relationship with her mother [SINS OF THE PAST (#01)]; Darius the Trojan War refugee [CHARIOTS OF WAR (#02)]; Elkton the mystic [DREAMWORKER (#04)]; and Tyldus the centaur [HOOVES AND HARLOTS (#10)] to name a few. In comparison, Callisto has no one.
 David F. Ricks says in an article on Maslow from Grollier's Multimedia Encyclopedia:
In the relatively rare individuals in whom all lower needs are satisfied a new motive can be observed, the drive for self-actualization -- becoming everything that one is capable of becoming. Interest in higher levels of motivation led Maslow to the study of self-actualized people, who differ from most people in being unusually healthy psychologically; having marked ability to free themselves from stereotypes; and perceiving everyday life realistically and accepting it without defensiveness. Self- actualizing people appear to have, or to have had, "peak experiences" of insight, joy, or intense awareness. How does this pertain to us? Amazonian culture can provide a model for our own behavior. Keep in mind the lesson of Hippolyta's girdle.
Fill In Your Own Pyramid
 Fill in all the corners of your own pyramid. We all know that in our own psychological makeup there are a few undeveloped areas. But we can change that. We can front a more aggressive attitude in dealing with our individual problems and the world in general, an Amazonian attitude, an Amazonian outlook on life. We can become self-actualized.
 Develop the ability to change. By cultivating this mind set within ourselves, our goals for self-actualization are much more easily achieved and our chances with love that much better.
 Application of this philosophy to the characters in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys suggests that Velasca and Xena, in her old days, are outstanding examples of leaders employing Machiavellian leadership practises as outlined in The Prince. If Hera, in her attempt to control the Amazons, had succeeded Hippolyta's girdle would have consisted of contrived Machiavellian ruthlessness. Instead the most successful characters in the Xenaverse attempt to achieve self-actualization -- they have found the secret of Hippolyta's girdle or Maslow's Hierarchy.
LYSIA to ZEUS The rules are: No small talk. Just sex. [Later.] LYSIA to ZEUS: This feels like heaven. [Even later.] LYSIA to MEGARA and ILIA We...didn't get around to a lot of talking. AUTOLYCUS to VELASCA Hey, I paid for an hour. PHYLOTITES to HERCULES At three you have an appointment with some Amazons about a girdle. HERA as HIPPOLYTA The war against men is never over, Hercules.
 Hercules provided 50 sons for King Thespius by impregnating 49 of the king's 50 daughters in one night.
 After he died, Hercules resided in Olympus where he married Hebe, daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe was responsible for serving the gods ambrosia.
 They fought against the Greeks in the Trojan War. (Hmmm? I only counted one Amazon princess. Stories sure do get blown out of proportion when a bard tells them.)
 Hippolyta is Ares' daughter.
 Theseus had a son by Hippolyta.
 Bellorophon and Pegasus fought the Amazons.
 Dionysus (Bacchus) conquered them.